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Posts from November 2009

Busy Week Ahead

Just thinking about it is already making me tired!  Tonight's my one quiet day (and I plan on spending a significant chunk of time at the gym), but other than that, there's work, work events, social events, workouts, a class and a fundraiser.  Are we sure I can't sleep a few more hours this morning?

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for my loving and supportive family, who are always there for me; for friends old and new, near and far, for weaving an intricate fabric that has made my life thus far so wonderful; for the opportunity to go to work each day and do something I love; for the joy of sharing my passion for food and drink with the world; and for my health and my strength.  Today I give thanks for waking up each day and celebrating this crazy, magical, challenging, joyous, and amazing journey that is my life.

Happy Thanksgiving all!  Hope you're all sharing good food with those you love.

The Menu

The bird is relaxing in its cider brine for the rest of the day, but will be removed later tonight in order to dry out, hopefully ensuring a crispy skin and juicy meat.  Here's the menu -- recipes are predominantly from Epicurious, likely owing to busy schedules!

- Spiced Party Nuts

- Oysters (type TBD)

- Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs

- Roasted Dates with Pancetta, Almonds & Chile

- Cider Brined & Glazed Turkey with Apple, Parsnip & Sausage Stuffing

- Truffled Mashed Potatoes (my adaptation of this recipe)

- Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans

- Cranberry Sauce

- Tarte Tatin

- Pumpkin-Pecan Pie with Whiskey Butter Sauce

It's a team effort and if all goes well, it'll all be done at the same time and there will be no major culinary catastrophes. But then again, where's the fun in that?  I'm sure there will be at least one good story. 

Life Is Too Short


For those of who who have read my blog for a long time (or probably even new readers), you're used to reading about my adventures in food and drink, with a generally amusing jackass story peppered in for good measure.  But today, I want to talk about the other big part of my life -- pro bono. 

As you may know, I run the pro bono program at a large law firm.  People often ask me if I would give up my "day job" to become a full time food writer.  At this point in my life, absolutely not.  Some people give back to the community outside their jobs, but I learned early on that I am happiest when my work itself gives back to the community.  After a brief stint as a litigator, which wasn't particularly fulfilling to me, I worked hard to build a career in the pro bono world.  It has always been incredibly important to me that my work has an impact in the world, and with minor exceptions, every job I have had is somehow in the public interest.  I love food and drink, but in the end, it's not going to cure the world's evils, help keep a family from being kicked out on the streets, keep a domestic violence victim away from her abuser, or give someone the safety of political asylum.  The work I do every day ultimately achieves those goals, which is incredibly fulfilling.

Image courtesy of Hugh at Gaping Void.

Children by the Millions Scream for Alex Chilton


All I knew about Alex Chilton was that lyric by the Replacements until about 2001, when my friend Christopher introduced me to Big Star.  We were dating at the time -- he living in DC and I in NYC -- so I listened to Big Star a lot during the time we weren't in the same city, mostly their first two albums.  We also went to see them in New Orleans when we were down there together for New Years.  Christopher now lives in London, but I texted him from the Big Star show last night letting him know I was there.  He responded back immediately -- not sure what he was doing up at that hour . . .

Thanks to Christopher for being in my life and introducing me to Big Star, and thanks to @livethelushlife, @mysteryaction, @winenshine and Ethan & co for being such good company.

Oh, the Delicious

Although I'm tempted to keep it to myself so that the rest of you won't have its magical powers, here's the recipe for the amazing lamb and white bean stew from Marcella Hazan.  Make it and do me proud.

vegetable oil
2/3 c flour
3 lb lamb shoulder, bone in, cut into about 3-inch pieces (note -- I get it w/o the bone)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 c onions, sliced thin
1 t dried sage leaves, crumbled, or 6-7 small fresh leaves, torn into small pieces
1 c dry white wine
2 t tomato paste
1 c beef broth
2 19 oz cans cannellini beans
2 t garlic, chopped fine
3 T parsley, chopped

1) Pour enough veg oil into a skillet to cover the bottom completely and turn on the heat to med high.
2) When oil is hot, dredge the lamb pieces, one by one, in the flour and slip them into the pan. Fill, but do not crowd, the pan. Brown the meat well on all sides, then transfer it to a plate, using slotted spoon or spatula. As you remove a piece from the pan, replace it with one freshly dredged in flour, continuing until all the lamb has been browned.
3) Turn on the oven to 350 degrees.
4) Choose a lidded pot that can later accommodate all the meat and beans (that can go from burner to oven). Put in the olive oil, onion and sage, and turn the heat to medium. Cook the onion, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it becomes colored a light brown.
5) Add the meat, turning 2 or 3 times. When it begins to sizzle, add salt, pepper, and wine.
6) Dissolve the tomato paste in the broth. When the wine in the pot has boiled away, add the broth, mix well, cover the pot, and place in the uppermost level of the preheated oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring once every 30 min.
7) Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Cook for another 15 min.
8) Before serving, mix in the chopped garlic and parsley. Serve piping hot.